Meet the Why me? trustees who oversee the management of the charity
Chair, Gillian Slovo
Gillian Slovo is a South African born writer and playwright who came to England as a child. She has published fifteen books including Every Secret Thing, her best-selling family memoir; her novel Ice Road which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and her novel Red Dust which was about South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and which won the French Temoin du Monde prize and was made into a film. Gillian has also had produced four verbatim plays, the last of which, Another World, was on at the National Theatre. She is currently working on a play about the Grenfell Tower fire for the National. She was a trustee on the board of the writers organization, English PEN, for four years before becoming President of English PEN, a post she held between 2010 and 2013. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Gillian came to appreciate Restorative Justice following her own experiences through South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. While she had serious concerns with the approach taken in South Africa, it helped her to appreciate the importance of victims of crime getting an understanding of why they were harmed, directly from the person who had done it. She is motivated to use her position at Why me? to help change the manner in which our society and our justice system deals with victims, and brings perpetrators to understand the harm that they have caused.
Cathy James OBE
Cathy is a qualified solicitor and the former Chief Executive of the Whistleblowing charity Protect, where she still works as a legal consultant. Through this work Cathy has advised thousands of whistleblowers, as well as organisations, governments and regulators on whistleblowing systems in the UK and internationally. She has expertise in governance and risk management across all sectors. Cathy set up the independent Whistleblowing Commission, which made recommendations for improving the legal framework for whistleblowing in the UK, including a Code of Practice for employers. Before working at Protect, she was a litigation partner in a large London law firm. Cathy was awarded an OBE for services to employment rights in June 2015.
David Munro was Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner between 2016-2021. This elected post involves overseeing Surrey Police’s overall strategy and budget, holding the Chief Constable to account, and acting as the link between residents and the police force.
David was particularly concerned with reducing re-offending, and helping victims of crime along their often painful journey to obtain justice. He set up a special fund to expand the use of Restorative Justice and victim support while in post. Nationally, he was the PCC lead for Equalities, Diversity and Human Rights, fighting for fair access to the policing and criminal justice system for those with protected characteristics.
Before being elected as a PCC, he was a long-standing county councillor, becoming Surrey County Chairman for a two-year spell. He started his working life a long time ago as an Army Officer in the Royal Engineers and was then involved in computer marketing.
Matthew initially trained as a probation officer, then moved to work as a Senior Practitioner in the Youth Offending Service. He currently manages the Restorative Justice Team in Cambridgeshire Youth Offending Service, and has experience as a trainer and practitioner in Restorative Justice work in the Criminal Justice System and the workplace.
Will is the Research and Strategy Development Manager at the Henry Smith charity. He joined the Why Me? board in June 2017. He started his career in the criminal justice sector and has worked in a prison as well as with police tackling online hate crime; he has authored several research papers on this. Since 2013, Will has worked for The Henry Smith Charity, a large grant making trust where he is responsible for research and strategy development. He brings an understanding of the charity sector and experience working on both sides of the funder/grantee relationship.
Dr Belinda Hopkins
Belinda has been pioneering restorative approaches in youth settings across the UK and beyond, for over 20 years. In the mid 90’s she founded Transforming Conflict, the first organisation in the UK to offer training and consultancy in restorative approaches. She later sat on the working group at the Home Office which developed national guidelines for restorative practice.
Belinda gained her doctorate in 2006 with research into the implementation of a whole school restorative approach. She is passionate about sharing how the ethos, principles and practices of Restorative Approaches can transform communities and institutions.
Belinda has also been on the European Forum for Restorative Justice Values and Principles Working Party, and is currently on their Training Committee – developing standardized training packages for use by all European countries.
Lucy is a Youth Worker by training and has worked with young people in statutory and community settings for more than a decade. Currently the Practice Development Lead at Redthread (London, UK) Lucy has a wealth of front-line and managerial experience including crisis intervention and complex multi-agency safeguarding. Having previously worked in custodial, criminal justice and social care settings, the health sector presented a unique challenge – which Lucy and her teams relish.
Lucy’s practice is guided by an understanding that this work is extremely nuanced; human beings exist within inter-sectional, contextual and relational systems and have often had difficult experiences of the services set up to provide support resulting in a paucity of trust. Untangling these experiences and identities takes patience, skill and tenacity. A passionate advocate of trauma-informed pathways, Lucy is ambitious about healing for all.
Brian worked for the police in a career that spanned thirty years and involved a multitude of wide and varied roles. On behalf of the Government Office for the North East and the Home Office, Brian worked in community safety management, project development and project delivery across a range of crime reduction and community safety subjects, often working in partnering arrangements with the public, private and voluntary sectors.
Brian is a long standing champion of Restorative Justice and during his career influenced local partners to invest in Restorative Justice, which ultimately led to its introduction across criminal justice organisations, recovery services, and local authorities. After working regionally and nationally as an advisor, accredited practitioner and trainer, he was given the opportunity to build Restorative Justice services across the Tees Valley. This resulted in the creation of a multi – agency team working across all facets of Restorative Justice, most notably in the area of serious and complex cases in the probation and prison environments.
Prior to his ‘retirement’ Brian led the local service in achieving the Restorative Justice Councils quality mark – RSQM. To date Brian’s involvement with Restorative Justice continues, working with partners to explore Restorative Justice ideas with young people and latterly military veterans.
Kate has been a senior manager in the voluntary sector for 20 years. Most of her experience has been in infrastructure organisations, including 12 years in the UK’s criminal justice infrastructure organisation and 10 years in other infrastructure settings. Kate began her career in an environmental mediation charity, and was also a volunteer for a neighbourhood mediation charity for over 4 years. Kate believes that the voluntary sector is uniquely placed to empower communities to improve social justice.
Victor is an Analyst at J.P. Morgan Chase working in the Securities Services Sales division. He has also dedicated his time to supporting philanthropic causes including mental health, improving educational attainment of children from working class backgrounds and youth justice.
In his final year of university, he partnered with DebateMate, and taught an after-school debating club in a Birmingham inner-city primary school. As a result of this experience, he co-founded My Brothers Keepers’ Bookclub. A series of book clubs with the aim of turning boys from low socioeconomic backgrounds into the most active readership group in the U.K.
He is also passionate about reforming the youth justice system and expanding the conversation about mental health to young people. In April 2018, Victor travelled as part of the British delegation to Strasbourg to report to the Council of Europe on the state of Children’s Mental Health and Child-Friendly Justice. He hopes to continue to contribute to these issues in the future.